Bowel Cancer Awareness Month Begins

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in the UK, providing the opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and highlight the effects on sufferers and their families.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and the second biggest cancer killer, with over 42,000 people diagnosed with the disease every year.

Nine out of 10 people who are diagnosed are over the age of 50. However, 2,500 people under the age of 50 are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year.

Bowel cancer can affect both men and women, but the disease is more common in women, with one in 18 women being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

Risk factors and survival

Much like most cancers, there is no known cause, but there are some factors which could increase your risk of getting the disease. Cancer Research UK outlines several factors which could increase your risk. These factors include your diet, physical activity and being overweight, family history, smoking and alcohol consumption.

There are things you can do to reduce these risks, however. According to Bowel Cancer UK, around half of bowel cancer cases could be prevented by leading a healthier lifestyle.

Some actions you can take to reduce your risk include limiting red meat and consuming more foods which are high in fibre, such as vegetables and fruit, being a healthy body weight and being more physically active, reducing your alcohol intake and stopping smoking.

Survival rates for bowel cancer differ depending at which stage you are diagnosed. For example, Cancer Research UK reports that those who are diagnosed at stage 1 have a survival rate of 95% and over, whereas those who are diagnosed at stage four have a much lower survival rate, with up to 10% of patients surviving.


The key to survival with bowel cancer is early diagnosis, so the cancer can be caught as early as possible and treated much more effectively. Almost one third of bowel cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the “two-week” wait referral pathway.

If you are over 55 it’s important that you attend bowel screening appointments with your GP as 10% of cases in England are diagnosed through this method and two thirds of these cases are diagnosed at an early stage.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can sometimes be mistaken for other issues or go unnoticed completely, as they can be subtle in the early stages of the disease. Bowel Cancer UK has reported that, in recent years, the number of patients who are diagnosed with the disease has plateaued, with just over 50% of patients being diagnosed in the early stages. This has a significant impact on the likelihood of survival.

If you have suffered a misdiagnosis or delayed bowel cancer diagnosis, you could be entitled to medical negligence compensation for the harm you have suffered. To find out how First4Lawyers could help you through the process, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online.


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